Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Willing Weeders on Organic Farms

First of all, apologies for the lack of posts this past week. We've been WWOOFing at a place with yet again weak Internet. They had some sort of cellular/usb connection that only worked with their desktop computer so we couldn't connect to upload any pictures. What is it with WWOOFers and poor Internet? If only they'd list that on their profile...

Anyway, after the wonderful few days at Blueberry Bliss we took the bus to Invercargill where our next hosts Colin and Ellen picked us up. Colin and Ellen run a stud sheep farm on about 10 acres with large gardens. Both being around 70 years old they use WWOOFers to do general tasks around the house and garden. Which for us meant weeding!

We also trimmed their hedges and roses and moved some dirt around to fill in some holes to make the mowing easier.

On Saturday we knocked off work early and they took us to the A & P Show (Agricultural and Produce) which was like a County or State Fair back home. It was fun going through the fair with Colin since he'd lived in the town for ages and knew everyone (he introduced us as his "good friends from America"). He even took us to an old-fashioned private club above the grandstands where we had shots of whiskey while looking down over the proceedings in the fair.

The highlight of the fair was the sheep shearing competition. Up to five shearers would be on stage and shear a pre-determined number of sheep per round. Colin loved the competition, and when it came time for the finals he was quite amazed at the line-up. He said, "I reckon you'll never see a line-up of sheep shearers like that again." I reckon he's probably right.

Especially entertaining about the sheep shearing was the commentary by the announcer. He would give a blow by blow account of what was happening. (Example: "Donny Fagan is working around the chin. Look at his form as he goes down the leg.") Also funny was that each shearer had a separate judge who watched over the shearing, because as Colin made clear to us, "it's a test of both speed and quality."

In between rounds of shearing there was also a competition of the wool handlers, the person responsible for clearing the wool away as the sheep are sheared. Who knew competitive sheep shearing was a team effort?

We had a wonderful stay at their house. They treated us like family and we felt very comfortable with them. Most nights we would sit outside on the patio and have a wonderful dinner with great conversation. We feel like we've become good friends with Colin and Ellen and will miss them when we leave.

Now we're off to Stewart Island for a couple nights. We're not sure what we're going to do down there but we come back to the mainland on Friday and head to Christchurch. We've already arranged to stay with Sue again, our previous couchsurfer. Then it's off to Singapore on Monday where through couchsurfing we've arranged to stay with a Japanese man who lives there. Should be interesting...

Here's the full set of pictures from our stay in Winton:

WWOOFing in Winton


  1. Look! See the old David Brown tractor! David Brown bought the Aston Martin car company in the 50s. That's why my 1959 Aston was called a DB 2/4 Mk III model, and James Bond drove a DB 4. I was hoping I'd finally see some vintage equipment pictures. Cheerio.

  2. Cool! We had no idea what we were taking pictures of so I'm glad you enjoyed them.


Related Posts with Thumbnails